Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Impromptu Dinner with Syd

It was a sultry Friday evening, and DucCat and I felt like hitting the town- what little of it there is around here. We made the short trip to Port Warwick, and trapsised by the Tapas Lounge. Some of our favourite people were in there, a wedding party of friends, and their family from Turkey. We made joyous greetings aplenty, and left them to their splendiforous time. It was only a short walk to Syd's, where we planned to have a weekend-welcoming cocktail.

As it turned out, this Friday was slow and languid, reflecting the still-balmy weather. There was enough of a breeze that we could still sit outside at our favourite corner table. We placed our wine order, and Tony was soon opening and pouring a wine of almost inky darkness- a perfectly temperate Rosenblum Petite Syrah Heritage Clones 2003 soon graced our glasses. DucCat and I had encountered Rosenblum Cellars within our first few hours of alighting upon California territory. The staff had been extremely welcoming and friendly, and the wine was a palate of intriguing tastes. What a fantastic memory to recollect as we relaxed into the evening.
This luscious wine was no shy little syrah. Holding a glass up to the fading sky, it remained inky and almost impenetrable in appearance; the nose was lush, warm and exciting, with fruit and fervour. In the mouth, it was fabulous, a gushing river of depth and intensity, lithe and lingering. You can't tell that I liked this or anything, can you? It became the wine-du-jour for the evening.

Since it was a slow evening, our man-in-the-kitchen Syd sent out a little taste of summer. Fat and succulent heirloom tomatoes from his garden, thickly sliced, and stacked with purple basil; garnished by delicate yellow mushrooms that tasted like watermelon; and two fresh jumbo shrimp encased in tempura-style batter. It wasn't long before the juices were running down my fingers with glee.

Syd soon joined us, and before we knew what happened, we'd ordered a meal, and he joined us in tasting the Rosenblum. Alright, then, on to the food.

This was a summery salad with yet another gorgeous tomato, an aged cheddar, sauteed okra, and roasted garlic. Oh, the okra.
I am proud to say that I am no longer an okra virgin. No sliminess. No ickiness. It was fabulous.

We asked then if we could slow down the service, and spent the better part of an hour chatting with Syd, other diners, and random people walking by. Eventually, our entrees arrived, and we tucked back in for round two.

DucCat, my loving carnivore, went with the flatiron steak entree, which hovered on potatoes and a summer squash salad; a portion of sweet summer corn waited patiently in a sheath of butter. Due to the rate at which it disappeared, I'm assuming it was all quite good.

Feeling indeciscive, I selected a duo of small plates, scallops with zucchini, and a fat little crabcake with a mustardy-remoulade. The scallops were pretty good, but the crabcake was outstanding. Between the two of us, there wasn't a morsel of crabby goodness left to take home.

We were stuffed. The hour was getting late. But Syd wasn't done with us just yet. Dessert loomed on the horizon, and who were we to say no? The final plate appeared on our table just as the sun yanked away it's last tendril of light. Upon it lay a new rendition of the summer cake, heavy with fruit and cream. Innocently next to it was a cappuccino-flavoured chocolate mousse tart. I am embarrased to say that we made fair headway into both.

Ah, well. Friday's like this don't come along so often, right?


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